UN court orders US to lift some Iran sanctions
THE United Nations’ highest court on Wednesday ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to civil aviation safety.
The ruling by the International Court of Justice is legally binding, but the Trump administration said the U.S. was terminating a decadesold treaty that Iran used as the basis for its case.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said withdrawing from the 1955 Treaty of Amity was long overdue and followed Iran “groundlessly” bringing the complaint to the U.N. court.
Pompeo said the administration would proceed with sanctions enforcement with existing exceptions for humanitarian and flight safety transactions.
“The United States has been actively engaged on these issues without regard to any proceeding before the ICJ,” he said.
Meanwhile, US national security adviser John Bolton said the administration also was pulling out of an amendment to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that Iran or others, notably the Palestinians, could use to sue the US at The Hague-based tribunal.
President Donald Trump moved to restore tough US sanctions against Iran in May after withdrawing from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers. Iran challenged the sanctions in a case filed in July at the International Court of Justice.
In a preliminary ruling, the court said that Washington must “remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from” the re-imposition of sanctions to the export to Iran of medicine and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities and spare parts and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation.
By limiting the order to sanctions covering humanitarian goods and the civil aviation industry, the ruling did not go as far as Iran had requested.
The US ambassador to the Netherlands, Peter Hoekstra, pointed that out in a tweet.
“This is a meritless case over which the court has no jurisdiction,” the ambassador tweeted. “Even so, it is worth noting that the Court declined today to grant the sweeping measures requested by Iran. Instead, the Court issued a narrow decision on a very limited range of sectors.”
While imposing the so-called provisional measures, the court’s president, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, stressed that the case will continue and the United States could still challenge the court’s jurisdiction. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif praised the court ruling on Twitter, calling it “another failure for sanctions-addicted” U.S. and a “victory for rule of law.” He added that it is imperative for the international community “to collectively counter malign US unilateralism.”
Judges enter the International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague, Netherlands on Wednesday where they ruled on an Iranian request to order Washington to suspend US sanctions against Tehran.